NAMM Convention - Indianapolis, IN
I managed to get a ticket to the Indianapolis NAMM (The International Music Products Association) Trade show, and went there this last Sunday. Of course I had all of you here at G101 in mind, so I brought along the camera to get some pictures of the highlights of the show.
One of my customers called me on Saturday and said "Hey man - I've got some passes for the NAMM show! If ya want I can drop my pass off after I've been there and then you can go too." Of course I couldn't refuse, so I said "HELL YEAH!" Later that evening he dropped the pass off and informed me that they weren't checking ID, so I should be able to get in just fine. I looked at the pass and noticed that it said RANDY C***** in big bold letters across the top of the pass. (The name has been changed to protect the *not so* innocent) I figured I could put up a false identity for a few hours and become RANDY C***** in the name of further musical studies!
So, Sunday afternoon I got my stuff together and headed for the show at about 12:30. After about a 20 minute drive in stifling 98 degree tempuratures I found myself at the entrance to the convention center.
I damn near went into temperature shock as I walked in - there must have been a 35 degree difference between outside and inside - NICE AND COOL!
This was a HUGE trade show with literally hundreds of different manufacturers present. All aspects of music were covered from orchestra and band instruments to synthesizers, pianos, percussion and of course GUITARS! There was also some rather exotic stuff on display there too - I'll get to that stuff later.....
Here's a shot of the inside of ONE of the convention halls just to give you an idea of the scale of this show....
Here's a nice shot of the Laney booth - I hear that they make some pretty kick ass amps.....
Silvertone has some pretty neat guitar designs out - I particularly liked the mirrored model on the right. A close up of it follows this picture.
Here's the close up.... If you look very closely you can see "yours truly" reflected in the body of this neat guitar. The body of this guitar was covered with a piece of broken mirror and then it was laquered over for safety reasons. (Not all of us like to bleed profusely on stage like Gene Simmons I guess....)
Next is a shot of the Shecter Guitars display - of course they are known for their high quality guitars.
Here's a shot of a couple of the new Peavey stacks that are out now. I jammed through the one on the left for about 10 minutes, and was quite impressed with the tone. Maybe a little brighter than I personally like, but then again I am used to Marshall tone. It was a pretty decent amp though - I wouldnt mind having one.... or two.....
And of course Ibanez had a nice display set up. You can see the famous JEM line on display here as well as some other models.
Here's a really cool and different Michael Angelo model double neck guitar from Dean Guitars. Wow!
Here's a shot of some stacks on display from Kustom. I didnt actually get to play through one of these, but I went inside the sound booth and listened for a few. These amps have a very distinctive tone that would be great for rock / blues IMHO. I think I could probably get used to having one of these around the house too! The guy that was playing in the booth while I was in there was a very good player, and I guess he really wanted to work the amp out - cuz he had it CRANKED! I left the booth with ringing ears - and a big smile!
Next is a picture of a guitar featuring the new Floyd Rose locking tremolo system. I have never seen this setup before, however I guess it's been out for a while. Notice that there are no tuners on the headstock.... All tuning is done from the Floyd Rose. The strings for this model are terminated with brass lugs at both ends, and are of just the right length to reach from the nut to the bridge. Once the new string has been placed on the holders at either end, you just push it down on the bridge and CLICK! the guitar is in tune! I was amazed at this! There is no extra string to cut off, and putting a new string on takes just a matter of seconds. A close up of the bridge follows that shows how the string is inserted in closer detail.
Here's the close up of the bridge with a new E string about to be replaced. The guy running the booth showed me how cool this was. He played a chord that was in tune, took the string off, put it back on and played the chord again. It was perfectly in tune.
Here's a nice shot of the B C Rich booth. They have so many neat designs - its enough to make any guitarist drool in excitement!
Here is a really neat design that caught my eye - It's a B C Rich, but this photo dosent really do the guitar justice. The translucent body is just TOO COOL. (As I stood there I caught myself wondering if they would notice if I kinda stuffed this down my pants and meandered towards the nearest EXIT sign. But common sense, and hence reality, slapped me up-side my head so I abandoned this idea. heheheheh)
Of course Digitech was there - however I was rather suprised at how small and decidedly "unflashy" their booth was. They had a lot of their pedals and effects units on display, and of course we all know how legendary many of their floor pedal models are....
The following picture was taken at the Koch booth. I am not sure if the stick style guitar is a Koch instrument or not - I couldn't really see what was written on the headstock. But MAN! The guy holding that stick can ROCK THE HOUSE! The instrument he is holding is like a bass and a six string electric all in one, and he could really play it. He didnt strum at all, he only tapped it. He played bass lines with the left hand while he tapped out leads with his right hand. I was REALLY impressed with his playing.
The next guitar is a bit more exotic. Its a double neck, but the necks are layered one on top of the other instead of the usual "next to each other" arrangement. I dont recall the brand now (oops my bad!) but they had models such as dual sixes, six / 12 string, six / bass, 12 / bass. It was pretty neat looking but I didnt get to play / hear it.
Next is the most wild and exotic instrument that I saw at the show - the Keytar. The Keytar is basicly just a guitar that you play like a piano, except that you only have one ocatve of notes to work with. The demonstrator explained that this limitation can be overcome through the use of a digital whammy effect. Mechanicly, the keytar works just like a piano - when you push a key, the corresponding string is tapped by a small hammer. He was playing through a small amp and it really did sound pretty good. IMHO this product has a limited audience of interested players - I'm not expecting to see these become a real popular item. However - I could be wrong. You never know.....
And yes ladies, your guitar playing interests and tastes were not forgotten! Introducing The Girl Guitar Company - specializing in designs aimed at the female guitarist's tastes! From powder blue to bright pink - I am sure there is something to please just about any female guitarist! (Except for maybe Avril Levigne! :toothless)
And now for KranK amplifiers. These definitely have that hard core look, and from what I was told, they have that hard core tone too! When I approached this booth I noticed that all of the amps were off, and that there was no guitar to be seen anywhere near the amps. I walked up to the guy running the booth and said "Since you guys sell amps called Krank, then why isn't there anyone over here crankin' one up?" He said "Well we were cranking them up yesterday - you know letting people play on them and experiment with them, but we got in trouble for a sound violation from the convention management, so today they have to be kept turned off." I just had to laugh! Thats an unfortunate thing for Krank amps at the show, but perhaps a testament to their power! I really like the chrome speaker covers on these amps - quite flashy and unique!
And last, but defintely not least, the Fender booth. This was the most fancy booth I saw at the convention. It was easily as large as a decent sized music store inside and had damn near their whole product line on display.
Here's a shot of the amp wall in the Fender booth. A wide variety of highly recognizable Fender classics is here. Hey! Whats that on the top row, third from the left!??!? Why it's a CyberTwinSE just like mine! The CyberTwin SE is an awesome amp - if you ever get the chance to sit down and play one, definitely do it! And I would suggest bringing your favorite axe with you so that you can get the true feel of this awesome little amp!
Well, thats all of the pictures I have folks. I spent about 3 hours at the show and had to leave at 4 when they were closing the show up for this year. I was thinking that maybe I had missed the Marshall and Gibson booths, but when I got home I looked in the show directory and discovered that Marshall and Gibson were not present at the show - I don't know why. It's a shame though - maybe they will be there next year.
I hope you all have enjoyed the little virtual tour of this years NAMM convention. I enjoyed putiing it together for you!
Peace and Rock On!